Bayern Munich have been dealt a blow in their ongoing fight for the Bundesliga title with the news that Robert Lewandowski is set to miss four weeks with a knee injury.
Lewandowski partially fractured the tibial edge in his left knee joint during the 3-0 Champions League win over Chelsea on Tuesday night, and will likely miss the return leg as a result.
The Poland international will also miss the DFB-Pokal quarter-final with Schalke, as well as a number of Bundesliga games.
Bayern face Hoffenheim, Augsburg, Union Berlin and Eintracht Frankfurt in the coming weeks.
He could return after the next international break, with Bayern set to face Borussia Dortmund in a potential title shoot-out on April 4.
Bayern lead RB Leipzig by one point at the top of the table, with Dortmund four points off the summit.
Lewandowski will hope his time on the sidelines does not impact his own momentum during what has been a record-breaking season so far.
With 39 goals from 33 games in all competitions, he is just four goals away from beating his best-ever return in club football, and just one off registering 40 for the season for the fifth year in a row.
Now, he is set to spend 10 days in a cast before beginning rehabilitation.
Manager Hansi Flick may have to reshape his team in his absence, with Thomas Muller seemingly the most natural fit to fill in at centre-forward.
Lewandowski’s injury could also open up an opportunity for 20-year-old Jann-Fiete Arp, who has recently returned from injury to feature for Bayern II in the third division.
The Pole played a key role in the resounding victory at Stamford Bridge, setting up both of Serge Gnabry’s goals after half-time before rounding off the win with a close-range finish of his own.
His performance led team-mate David Alaba to declare Lewandowski should be considered alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as one of the game’s modern greats.
“He's a world-class player and a world-class striker,” Alaba said.
“We all know that he can score goals and he showed another side of himself today by giving assists. We know that he is very important to us and we're grateful to have him in our squad.
“He shows it every weekend – he's one of the best and maybe the best striker in the world. He scores goals in almost every game and, of course, I think he deserves to be at the top and spoken about with those guys.”